About this Show

Book TV

Cory Booker, Tina Kelley & Kevin Ryan Education. (2012) 'Almost Home Helping Kids Move From Homelessness to Hope.'

NETWORK

DURATION
01:00:00

RATING

SCANNED IN
San Francisco, CA, USA

SOURCE
Comcast Cable

TUNER
Channel 91 (627 MHz)

VIDEO CODEC
mpeg2video

AUDIO CODEC
ac3

PIXEL WIDTH
704

PIXEL HEIGHT
480

TOPIC FREQUENCY

Brooks 14, America 8, Clarence Thomas 4, New York City 4, Newark 4, United States 4, Anchorage 3, The City 2, Ashley 2, New York 2, Manhattan 2, New Orleans 2, Homelessness 2, Libby 1, Obama 1, Jen Ji 1, Tyler Perry 1, Sandy 1, Bsu 1, Fbi 1,
Borrow a DVD
of this show
  CSPAN    Book TV    Cory Booker, Tina Kelley & Kevin Ryan  Education.  (2012)  
   'Almost Home Helping Kids Move From Homelessness to Hope.'  

    December 29, 2012
    8:00 - 9:00am EST  

8:00am
amen. >> please be seated. please remain at your seats for the departure of the official party. ..
8:01am
8:02am
8:03am
such a negative fashion now, in our prisons. we don't realize every one of those adults was a child we could have done more for to prevent a lot of the cases as adults. it is easier to raise strong children than to heal broken
8:04am
men. any regions not prioritized but children as much as we should. >> her favorite part of the book is your forward which is lovely. that is lovely because we worked -- it is so moving, we are doing something else from the heart in a snap challenge and spoke about what that is and why you doing this. >> my staff teases me. i was up late with my girlfriend on twitter. when is america going to get a life? it was something i was going back and forth. for those who use social media, things are dumb frankly. i was getting into an intellectual question about the role of government. the person said government should not provide for the nutrition of children and it struck a chord with me because i
8:05am
don't think people think about what that would mean. we don't realize we live in a society where we make small amount of investments early, we make big investments lake. we all in fact are deeply invested in the success of kids because the more the economy grows, artists, teachers, professors and a entrepreneurs, children are the greatest natural resource we have in america, our children. my late -- this woman says this, i go back and she says why don't we see what it is like to live on food stamps or the snap program. i went to bed thinking no big deal. it was a big story. thiokol my staff. guess what i am doing? but it was a powerful thing.
8:06am
one of 14 cities in america with a food policy director and we had done a lot of work when trying to expand affordable health options. i said this is a great thing. we could not only raise levels of compassion and understanding and dispel that stereotypes about snap and things that are on snap and focusing ted -- focus instead on changes week could be making an t mobile level to address food and security and nutrition and expand more healthy options. that is what we are doing this week. we also have to think of our society as a whole. and security guards in my office, we were talking with
8:07am
them because some of them were making $7 and change and many working overtime to make more money to solve problems like snap, we are allowing many of our employees especially behind the curtains. the curtains blocked the sex and love section. it is like in 711, the line across the magazine's. you guys should put your book on the second aisle. >> we should have called it 50 shades of homelessness. >> it would have sold a lot better. you have such dirty minds. get back to the substance at hand. these guys, there are poignant testimony is that we live in a society where front line first responders, talk about
8:08am
intervening in petty crime. we had one of the buildings targeted by some people with terrorist attempts and they are on the front lines of this and we come only paid him $7 and change an hour and they have no benefits or retirement security. one guy worked for ten years with no health care. if he gets sick he has to come to work. that is not the america i can think of. i am hoping -- overly long answer -- to bring more attention to these problems. right now congress will be debating cuts in the health program and in this time of austerity weekend be dumb and cut things that provide long-term benefits that our investments in us in our society. federally as well as our actions. >> you are speaking in your
8:09am
forward about actions -- we talk in this book about small actions people take that can help homeless young people. can you talk about how that works in the city? >> i have had lots of conversations with people who were in tough times, famous people like tyler perry who was homeless and living in a car, to people i know throughout my community who have dealt with brutal hatred because they came out of the closet at a young age. all these stories is amazing to me that all these people, stories about how young person, one small act of kindness was a differencemaker for the amended gives me chills to think we all have that power. the biggest thing we do in any day could be a small act of kindness for someone else. the vulnerability, the fragility
8:10am
of life, in cities like ours in new york and new jersey and how it doesn't take that much effort to be there for our kids. i was very happy during sandy we did some things to raise through covenant house and the cooperation of extraordinary people to raise a lot of money because it doesn't take that much money to give a person the doorway of hope. the last thing i will say is for me i get very upset because when i first became mayor i have a metaphor that i clung to, i would tell people i was such an optimistic and hopeful person, i am a prisoner of hole. we walked through city hall seven years ago there were so many challengess, we are prisoners of hope. we do nothing but hope. seven years later my metaphor
8:11am
has changed because i see powerful the trans formative things happen in every sector of the city from a down housing market to creativity, to double the production of affordable housing. first time in sixty years the population is going up. downtown in 40 years, built by new yorkers, so my metaphor has changed. i am no longer a prisoner of hope, i am hope unhinged because i now believe in my heart of hearts there is no problem, poverty, homelessness, no problem we can't solve. is not a matter of can we, but do we have the collective will. one example with kids that drives me a lot is we have tens of thousands of children, thousands in the metropolitan area on waiting lists for big brothers and big sisters. the data on mentoring is amazing, drives down juvenile crime, drives down early sexual
8:12am
behavior, drives up academic achievement. it is incredible what four hours a month, the amount of time we spend watching our favorite tv shows. you guys watch real housewives in new jersey, jersey shore, and i know you do that. one tv show giving up in a month, hours watching the tv show and we spent that time and during imagine what we could do. st. got my father was on a waiting list. they did not need a formal program stepping up for my dad. we have the power, and we don't engage or make ourselves aware of organizations that do that every day. >> or the book includes cook in
8:13am
new orleans to decide she is going to be a mother to a whole group of homeless kids. and a business executive in new work who decides to mentor a young person and watch him on his way filled with adults. it is fulfilled with adults for your kids. ..
8:14am
>> i was blown away we the extraordinary kindness people extended that their neighbors. i was in a tough neighborhood unloading water, handing it out, and a woman, a disabled woman in an electric wheelchair said i needed walker. she goes, yeah, we checked that out as well as riding around. she should have been the one to deliver water to, and she's delivering water to, like, people who couldn't engage. i mean, perhaps the degree of human experience and human -- the expression of humanity. i don't know what it is, but i know it's infection. when somebody does something like that, it inspires other people. why did one picture of a cop
8:15am
giving shoes on the street become a viral photo? why? we hunger for that. we crave that. we were inspired by it. why do you give during christmas and the holidays? it's an infectious spirit. it shouldn't just be one month of the year. if all of us, every single day instruct others around them, all of us carry this toxin that is kindness in us, and we shouldn't keep it for ourselves. one last example that happenedded to me. somebody -- it was a snowy day in new york. i was coming here. i was a 20-something starting in newark, sloshing around on the slushy day, and i remember coming to a pool of slush that was deep, probably like shin deep, and i was looking at it. i see an older african-american woman pushing a cart, you know what i'm talking about? the metals, mesh-type cart.
8:16am
i'll help this woman, of course, through the slush ocean, and then this guy jumped up, a white conservatively dressed guy who i would have had, at that time, never assumed would have gone and walk in the slush in the shoes that are like my monthly allowance, slush in the shoes, brings the woman over to the side, smiles at the woman, woman smiles at him, and i witnessed that. my day changed. that made me open and more accepting and loving. you never know what an act can do to make that change. that's what the world needs desperately because we are stuck. you see this. there's no shortage of kids. i want to put covenant house out of business, frankly, because there's no shortage of kids right now in need. that shouldn't be the case.
8:17am
>> so we talked about the need for political will to help young people. they don't vote, they are not part of a powerful political lobby, and how can we get that message out from the political sphere? >> you know, you get the elected officials you deserve, and i know this. i'm a politician. they respond to pressure. they respond to incentives, and so we always push the attention to washington or to trenton, albany or city hall. we can exercise pressure. we have the power to pressure, demand, influence our elected officials so we have to get active if we're going to have a society to respond to the enduring problem. the rate of child poverty in the united states of america, we should be shamed that a nation this strong has child poverty, and kids in poverty don't have the access to success, good education, nutritionally fit to learn, material ready to learn,
8:18am
and that's the lie or that's the incompleteness we have to address. when kids stand up in certain neighborhoods and kids stand up in affluent neighborhoods, and they say those words, "liberty and justice for all," when they pledge allegiance to the flag, that should be a command, should be a compelling aspiration, and there should be a conscious conviction amongst us to make that real, but right now, we are lacking that sense of or jen ji, and we can't sit around waiting on elected leaders to do it. when i think about elected movements in america, i don't think they were led to elected officials. elected officials respond to the leadership on the ground. that's what we should be doing. when we think about voting conversations to debate, how can we have an entire presidential debate, and seems that the word "poverty" was almost something we shouldn't talk about? something we shouldn't address.
8:19am
i hope we can change the dialogue because i'm a guy who actually likes to do a balance sheet analysis of our country. this is why we have interesting partnerships. the manhattan institute is working with us in newark. it's a balance sheet analysis that every dollar spent on snap creates a multiplier effect in our economy. it creates $1.70 # -- $1.70 of gdp growth. the same idea for kids. direct investments for young people produces a real economic result in the end. if we have a balance sheet analysis, we'll change. i was campaigning for president obama in seattle and was with an amazing support of housing organization there showing they had 23 homeless people. they looked at the medical
8:20am
expenses for the year before they came into the supportive housing, and then the year after. twentity-three people, they saved the local hospital a million dollars in medical expenses because we all know it's far more expensive to leave somebody, especially if they have a mental health issue and other things, it's far more expensive to leave them on the street than empower them. a study i didn't really do, talking about medical expenses, i talked to a man who was now volunteering, teaching people about cooking and making contributions. we have a backwards way of thinking about this. that's why i think our criminal justice system in the america, if you're a republican, that should be your biggest cause to go after. it's big wasteful government. it doesn't need to be that way if we empower people to succeed on the front end. >> mayor, we're going to make you late, but i have one that, and then i'll give you the last
8:21am
word. when we first met, i remember saying that i liked your tie, and you took that tie off and gave it to me. i think you offered that to the country. you offer our life and so many of us, 1.2 million people on twitter, but a lot of folks across the country on the book tour ask youth bow, inspired by you, and the light you draw to, hope, optimism, and knowing the future for the country is bright if we're in a together. i was stumped in anchorage when a woman asked me, "is he really as sexy as he seems?" [laughter] >> i'm what you call a 40-footer. i look better far away. >> thank you for the light you shared with us in the book and the light you bring to the people of newark, but the light you bring to the nation because so many of us look to you for hope and optimism and our country's future is bright in part because you're a part of it. >> i appreciate you saying that,
8:22am
but i will correct you. i said that to my staff today. i get a lot of psychic energy of being the mayor of the city and i'm there, but there's managers who get the job done every day you don't hear about. the same work that we do, i'm very proud to give support to the incredible work you're doing, but you know there's heros of light and energy that are working within covenant house in newark making transformative changes. there is a young kid one day to be born to one of the children there and you'll never know their name, generations unborn feel that love. that's the challenge to everybody, and this is -- science shows us, you look at the stars tonight, and you live in manhattan, so you probably won't be able to see a star, but imagine when you look up and see a star, think hundreds of billions of light years away, and many of the stars you are looking at are gone. they no longer exist, and the
8:23am
billion of years the light takes to get to you, the star is actually gone, but the energy and life is immuneble and goes on forever. people, generations yet unborn feel the warmth and light of that body. that's who we are. we may have a finite time on earth, but every day, have a determination to burn as bright, warm, and brilliant as possible. that's the challenge. ultimately, the change makers are never the elected officials or the names read in history. this country has been fueled because of a conspiracy love. we don't know the names of the people, but they're the ones today that we benefit. i'll end, but my father, who i talk about in the book, had colorful things to say about me as i kid. he grew up in poverty, and i grew up in relative privilege. he said, boy, don't look like you hit a triple.
8:24am
i was born poor. couldn't get a ticket to the stadium. the beautiful thing taken from him is we all drink deeply from wells of freedom, libber -- liberty, and opportunity we did not dig. knowing that, we all have an obligation to give back every way possible, to me, is a secret to live a life of solace and a life of love. >> thank you. [applause] >> i want to thank the mayor for being with us, and wement to take, for a couple minutes, any questions you may have before we open it up. yes? >> [inaudible]
8:25am
it just seems to me that the government should be doing something to keep tuitions in check, not necessarily turn it into a european system, but who are these magical doctors to descend upon morning and provide health care to everybody when it's 70-grand a year and tuition and undergrad loans and taking out, conceivably $300,000 for medical school. >> for c-span, do we have to repeat the question? repeat the question? the question was how to we help young people make it through their graduate goals in light of
8:26am
run away tuition? >> yeah, i mean, how do we get the doctors if tuition is $70,000 a year. >> we read in the book how hard it is for homeless kids in which they lived just to get through high school. the challenge that so many kids confront, and liz mary wrote, you know, a beautiful memoir last year, "breaking night," her journey to harvard, and who can and can want take care of them, been told you're broken because your poor or the circumstances of your birth or parents hate and reject them because they are gay or lesbian. the kids are so lost, feel so damage, that college feels like another planet to them, and we write in the book about the game changing things that cities and non-profits are doing to for high schools to be connected to
8:27am
homeless youth centers. there's one connected to the door, a drop-in center fer disconnected youth, in its 41st year, and that school was started with a notion that there are young people feeling really marginalized and disenfranchised. can you get them to come into school if they are struggling? there's three high schools, only for kids homeless, expelled, or suspended from the detroit public school systems. the covenant house in broom county are not rejecting them. they have been rejected from the public mainstream system, but here they get in. we know of just a handful part of a homeless youth program, and we think more of that creates real opportunity for kids. you probably know if you look at
8:28am
the labor statistics, kids with a high school disenfranchised ploam ya; right? are more likely to find employment or the unemployment rate is higher for them, but likely to find work than people without a high school diploma. getting across the bridge of poverty to opportunity involves creating high schools that work with homeless young people, and last on this, and open to your wisdom on this. people who are homeless in this city offer a master class in invisibility riding the subway all night long, hanging out in donut shops. this is true in anchorage and new orleans. we have to know there's hundreds of homeless young kids going out of their way not to be seen and picked off. we have to understand if we want to help them achieve the great promise of their future, we have to recognize they exist and we have to love and give them opportunity in the world because they don't have anybody else. >> okay, that's it. [laughter]
8:29am
other questions? >> my question is we talked about the government. what about private industry and the support of programs like this, and i know when i used to work for citi group, i'm retired now, but we had a program with mentoring between our executives and kids that were in high school or junior high school that would help. are you aware? is that in the book or whatever? >> i'll start. this is -- had an enormous amount of reporting in this and our book "almost home" as well. what role does private industry help in kids getting ahead? the panera franchise worked with covenant house in st. louis to create an apprenticeship as part of panera cares to give homeless young people to come to a
8:30am
training center, give them the skills of management and retail, the operation of the business, and launch those people into management positions. i'm not talking minimum wage, behind the counter work. i'm talking about a ladder of economic opportunity. the smartest ceos in the country are homeless young people. they might not have the resumé of young people coming from the best and brightest high schools in the country, but they are so hungry. they are -- they are so out to achieve, and so giving kids that first break, you know, that first job, you know, write right here in the city, hire as many young people from covenant houses an opportunity to work and save up and get their first apartment and go to school enough. there's a real role here for corporations and help young people move ahead. the smartest ceo get that. >> i wanted to add too as well as the mentoring efforts mentioned. for young people through horrible circumstances,
8:31am
sometimes all it takes for one person to believe in them 100% and holds them to a higher standard that take them from being dejected and not believing in themselves to flourishing and becoming successfully young adults. we have seen over and over again when executives and employees come into our shelters and pair up one-on-one with young people to work with them, just having someone that cares and believes in their future can be the real game changer. >> yeah, hi. >> hi. >> when they are working with them, handling some of the hardest human questions. >> beautiful question. the question is how do you keep people energized and mori -- morale up when you work with people suppressed with so much darkness. the biggest homeless youth center in america is just a drive down the road before
8:32am
lincoln tunnel, 250 young people sleeping there tonight, all amazing programs here in new york city taking care for young people who don't have any other safe place to be, and the trafficking and the exploitation and the violence that so many of the kids experienced eat away at the soul of those who work with the young people. it was true for me. twenty years ago when i started at covenant house, i had more hair, was a lot thinner, i forgot who i was. i came to the covenant house with love around me. my mother told me from the day i can sing -- i cannot sing, but my mother convinced me i could thing. my father convinced me i was a great math and science student. i'm not a great math and science student, but they filled me with promise and a lot of kids don't have that. you begin to think the darkness
8:33am
is so large and hovers so resonantly that the light is untouchable, but the great virtue of covenant house being 40 years old, and me having been a part of it for 20 years is i now know that doctors and teachers and great parents who were once upon a time homeless kids, but someone inside or outside covenant house loved them and brought them across the bridge of poverty to opportunity. we have to remind ourselves that the light -- and i'm not being sentimental, i really tbleef this -- the light is stronger than the darkness. we have to work together, big things and small things to change the life of a kid. there are people who once a week go there and bake a birthday cake for a kid who never, ever had happy birthday sang to them before. they put signs on the wall, and kids take it down because they have never seen happy birthday my name on a wall before. that's a small thing. i take a cake, go to the
8:34am
shelter, and sing happy birthday to a kid changes that kid's life forever. why did that lady come here to sing to me? maybe i'm not broken. maybe something about me is good. if all of us did that, the love that we would -- the light that we would shine in the world would be hotter than the sun, and that's part of the movement of love that we talk about in the book. changing kids means all of us getting in this together. >> are you talking about the government also making investments like mayor booker was talking about? i have a follow-up. >> yes, the question is are we talking about just volunteerism or the government playing a role? in our book, we write about things we know the government has to do in order to headache a difference in the lives of young people, and we talk about things individuals can do and have done to make a difference in kids' lives. if there's one fight i want to win soon, i want to stop investing billions of dollars in
8:35am
public child welfare system and have 28,000 kids graduate from foster care every year without a family. so many of those kids end up homeless, throw their stuff in a black hefty bag and end up desperate wows a tribe, kin, or family to support them. if we fix that in the foster care system, so within the circle of the public sector, we could fix that. it would dramatically impact what homelessness looks like in the country. >> i think it's important to focus on the way we do know ways to fix that system. we have ways of getting kids who are older and in foster care adopted out. we have ways of getting kids first coming into the foster system into permanent families, and we talk in the book about extreme family finding program in st. louis where they have retired detectives trying to find kin from not just mothers and grandmothers and aunts, but they'll find second cousins and great aunts and call up saying
8:36am
are you interested in giving a home to your relative, and 70% of the time with that program, they find permanent homes in that program rather than regular procedures. there are ways to reduce the stream of kids into foster care. there's ways to have them enter in the first place giving the needs the families need, and if we reduce the kids in foster care, we reduce the stream in our homes. 40% graduate from foster care with no place to go end up homeless within four years as their first time as adults. >> there is a big public-private collaboration on the narrative in the country that we have to work hard on which is that it's still okay to sell kids for the purposes of sex. it happens brave and bold about making a taboo, drive across the
8:37am
bridge or through a tunnel, come into the city and buy a kid for a night. if we can be as successful making that a taboo as we have smoking, that changes people's perception on what's appropriate with inthat ma sigh. there's kids bought and sold, yes, on the internet, but also by gangs and cartels who make a lot of money off the backs of the kids. we, you know, we have a long way to go in the country about talking openly about that and young people continue to be exploited and some boys in the country think it's okay, you know, to go into the city for a night and get a hooker. a lot of time the hooker is a homeless kid whose family would in the take care of her. that's true tonight in this city as well. >> what does your program specifically do to help kids who are victims of the sex trade? >> so the question is what does covenant house do for kids who
8:38am
are victims of the sex trade? also what we do individually with the young people and the public policy questions we work to tackle so first the latter. we work with other ngo leaders across the country either as participants in or leading state-based coalitions, improving legislation that protects survivors of trafficking or the champions, the antitrafficking work that's going on at the federal and state level so in alaska last year, the fbi gave cove inapt -- covenant house was given a community partner award for the work we do to identify trafficking and prosecute it in pennsylvania, and several weeks ago, covenant house in philadelphia led a coalition that successfully championed new safe harbor legislation that helped victims of sex trafficking, and that would be true throughout the united states, and worse in latin america, working in mexico,
8:39am
guatemala, and honduras, we work directly including co-prosecuting the cases against the gangs and cartels trafficking kids who are as young as six, seven, eight, nine, ten years old. the work we do to help vick -- victims recover depends where the victim is on their exploitation and suffering but involves councilling, dealing with rape and exploitation, and develop a plan forward that's not very different than the work that we were doing, you know, 30 years ago. we call it trafficking now, but it's been going on for a long time. kids have been getting bought and sold in this country for a long time, and we worked for a long time helping kids move from exploitation to hope and opportunity. >> another thing we advocate for is for the resources to be better educate the for when someone is actually a victim and
8:40am
someone is there on their own. if they determine they are underage or coerced into trafficking, we urge police agencies learn what it looks like and 2k3we9 -- get the kids into services. >> yes, sir? >> is reunification ever a goal? >> the question is, is reunification ever a goal? >> every opportunity that exists for state reunification in the kid's interest is get support. we want, wherever possible, young people to have a family. if the family is safe and they can be reconnected to their family, we want to be a part of helping that to happen just as in the case for younger children in the child public welfare system. the vast majority of young people coming to covenant house, not just in new york city, but yews -- but across the united states, do not have families that can be safely reconnected to them. that's not true for everyone.
8:41am
we try to work hard or build going forward a group of folks are -- who are going to love them. we talk both the first job, the first apartment, the fact that kids need to finish their education. the one thing that a young person needs more than anything else is an adult who unconditionally loves them and commits to them and won't let go of them. it's what made a difference in my life. the thing i think you'll see in "almost home" is people stepped up to be that person. the cook in new orleans, and as tina often says it's often not the executive director or the president of the director of the charity, but it's, you know, the janitor or the cook or the mentor who comes into the shelter and just decides i'm not letting go of the kid and help the kid get across that bridge. >> maybe two more questions, and then we're going to conclude, if there are any more. yes? >> [inaudible]
8:42am
>> hi. >> my question, actually, you heard about other ways that adults can help, but are there different avenues that youth can help? the homeless youth? for example, i went to the academy in niewrks, and -- newark, and there's other high schools with mentoring programs or, perhaps, like volunteer programs, but working with the youth coming to the house, but are there different avenues that can be opened up so that youth can work the homeless rate? >> i know that for the holidays we often have young people come in for parties. you can have cookie decorating or pumpkin carving, things people in the shelter never had. at first, it appears childish, but they didn't have those experiences, and they love it. i used to go to the shelter and paint people's nails, something that simple, that act of caring that made them feel valued and
8:43am
realize that people outside the shelter system care for them. i don't know about being a full-time volunteer, if there's age limits on that. >> i think there are with respect to when a young person can come into the shelter to help the kids, but there's cool things going on across the country in colleges and high schools, across the united states in last several weeks. young people sleep out to raise awareness of the crisis of youth homelessness asking friends and family to raise money to support charities working with homeless young people. there's also young people from colleges and universities going in and organizing clothing rooms. you know, there's a couple ways to deal with clothing in a shelter; right? put the clothes in a pile and go pick something, or it's a sacred moment to have a kid feel special and you can organize it like a boutique and have it as a special opportunity even though the person has not another thing to wear, a sad moment for them, those coming into the cove inapt
8:44am
house, including a teen doing this tonight in anchorage, are planning ways to make that experience of going into a clothing room and finding a pair of jeans, a t-shirt, or coat for the winter and turn that into something special. often high school students do that, come in, clean the clothes, hang the clothes, so many ways. cove inapt house will touch 56,000 homeless young people this year in six countries. there's 2,000 young people tonight sleeping under a covenant house roof. it's a bigger movement across the united states for homeless sheetedders for kids where there's trying to be love in the world. there's room for all of us to get involved. last question. >> how can we get involved as adults, not just being kids and so, like, here in new york city? how can we help you? >> so the question is, and i promise i didn't plant the question, but thank you so much for asking the question. [laughter] how can you help us at covenant
8:45am
house? i'll say, as i said earlier, there's fabulous non-profits in new york city doing great work with homeless people. at covenant house, a 40-people house, and there's one for homeless moms, and tonight, 350 young people sleeping under our roof. we have a need for hundreds of volunteers to help us. we have my friend, ashley, in the back of the room, waving to you all. does everybody see ashley? okay, now, that was planted. if anybody's interested in finding out more about cove inapt house and volunteering, could be be big and small ways, ashley's happy to provide you with more information. think about this; right? there's an opportunity here for all of us to do something. maybe it's not inside covenant house. i hope for many, it will be. maybe it's in your neighborhood or community to reach out to that kid where something seems not quite right. just reach out to the young person.
8:46am
it could make a huge difference in their lives. i'm confident, and there's a huge, huge role for the government to play here. there's also a huge role for us to play here, and i'm confident that if we all together get in this in a robust way, in ways that corey talked about that, you know, this book, which is about the six extraordinary people who helped six extraordinary people across the bridge, can be duplicated. >> i welcome anyone in to participate in that work. we need tutors. we need job trainers. we need people to help with resumés. we need people to do big and small things as well. read chapter 8 about what you can do to help after you read the stories and join in the movement. >> thank you, all, so much. [applause]
8:47am
>> i'll tell you what. i met my first conservative that was a friend of the a friend. i never met a conservative in my life, and i was impressed by him because he answered questions, very composed, very patient, very simple, and he tried to gauge responses to the level of my requests, and he was very welcoming. over the course of the year, i don't understand any the guy's saying, but he's so damn polite. [laughter] that maybe i should have -- maybe there's something in his conviction. >> playwright and reformed liberal david mamet on his ideologies and current stand on political and social issues. hides latest is "the secret
8:48am
knowledge" part of four days of non-fiction books an authors through newier's -- new year's day on c-span2's booktv. >> i thought i would talk briefly about why the story intrigued me so much, a little bit about the reporting process, and, you know, bring it forward to today because that's what intrigued me and then open the floor to question. i admit, first of all, i'm not a holy cross grad which somebody thought naturally i must be an alum of the school to know the story. the way i came across the story is sam gracen, one of the men in the book, we were having lunch, and it was the same day that ted wells was a front page story in the "new york times" representing scooter libby at the time, so going way back, and he started to talk about his classmates, the other black classmates. he started to talk about father brooks. i was intrigued. i was partly intrigued because
8:49am
clarence thomas was one of those classmates, and i had nod read much about the interaction of justice thomas and father brooks so that just got me intrigued. i'm a business journalist. it was not a classic business story, but i'm always interested in leadership. i'm always interested in mentoring, and it took quite a while to get justice thomas to speak with me, i think in part, because he didn't necessarily trust the agenda that i had which was i would like, in fact, like to talk about 1968, 1969, and 1970 #, those years, and when i went in to see him, want depth of passion he had for holy cross. the feelings and emotions he had about father brooks. i'm not sure who was at his presentation last week when he got his honorary degree, but it came up again. when you see how he feels about
8:50am
holy cross versus what he said about his experiences at yale, there's a profound difference, and i think one of the big differences was his classmates, and it was the way he felt treated at the college, and certainly the way he felt treated by father brooks, and so i basically just set out to do an article. i just decided that it was, in fact, grounds for a book, and i have to say this being my first book project, i went on all sorts of directions that ultimately didn't work. one of which was lots of history , publisher said no. that's that. a lot about the history of werster, and, ultimately, it came down to the story of the five men and father brooks, and one thing that meant was unfortunately, a lot of the people i talkedded to, i diminished their roles in the
8:51am
book and take names out because, again, my editor said, you know what? i'm getting confused keeping track of all the people. focus on these men. focus on the fraternity they formed, and use that as sort of a microcosm for what they experienced at holy cross and what was being experienced, you know, across the country at that time, and i think that there were a couple things that i tried to be careful not to do. one was heighten the drama too much with fake love interests and dialogue, but, no, i think the main thing that was important to me that holy cross was both special and unique, but it was a microcosm of what was happening in the country at that time. i'm not american. i grew up in scotland. i am half catholic, but brady is a handy name to have reporting at holy cross. i was always intrigued by this.
8:52am
i was born in the late 60 #s, and i never understood the emotions was time. the book opens after dr. martin luther king has been killed. also, father brooks intrigued me as somebody who was a pioneer who went out there and basically circumvented the admissions process. he was very controversial as you know. those who read the book and those who know him, he's a very strong-willed man, and he went out in a car with jim gallager, personally introduced the men, not men who came in through other means like eddy who came in through an athletic scholarship. can everybody hear me? probably better. sat in a coffee shop one night
8:53am
and decided who would get in, the two of them, and presented a bill to father sward, the president at the time, it was $80,000, and a college with a million dollars in endowment at the time was quite a cost to bear so -- what he was looking for, i asked, you know, how do you decide? anybody's who is a parent in the room knows that intelligence is not necessarily something that is a hallmark of success. it doesn't necessarily lead to success, and when you talk to father brooks, he was looking for leadership qualities. he was looking for drive. he was looking for people who had a work ethic, people who were hoping to reach beyond their black and white, and if you may or may not know, he was fighting at the time to get women into the college. sadly, for the class of 1972, i don't think they arrived until the fall of that year, and that was after father brooks was president and managed to shake
8:54am
up the trustee board a little bit and get people on there that did finally pass resolution to let women into the college so i think that when i look at this story, and i'll take your questions, i think what really struck me is when i look at today as, first of all, the network, and it's the network of the men. it's called "fraternity" because this is not about one man, a priest, a theology professor, later a dean, later a president who went out to save a group of men. these are men who were highly motivated, highly accomplished who were being given an opportunity they would not have had probably two or throe -- three years earlier. there were african-american students at holy cross, but one or two a year, and in most cases, one. one through athletics and the other through the catholic school network and that was it. this was the first major group
8:55am
that came, it was 20 men. clarence thomas transferred after dropping out of the seminary. it was the first time having critical numbers on campus, and what, i think, happened was father brooks and the college never veered on academic standards. all of them had to work as hard, harder in many cases, you know, i think ted wells and clarence thomas tended to close down the library at night according to everybody i talked to, but i think where he did make concessions was socially, and he understood how difficult it was. he gave them a bsu van. the college paid for a station wagon for them to get off campus as often as they could. he paid for them to have a bsu. he allowed them to live together on a black quarter, which was very controversial. i know we have one of the editors of the crusader at the time, and i remember reading articles that were basically
8:56am
students upset about this almost resegregation they called it, and -- but he understood it was difficult, and he made concessions. when i talked to the men, it was the idea that at the very highest levels of the college, they understood people cared about their success. they understood that people had faith in them, and they understood with father brooks, there was an open door. he had that philosophy, i think, for the 2,000 students who were there, and many people here feel close to father brooks, and he was with us last night, and he was certainly in werster last week for clarence thomas' event. when i talk to father brooks today, he just wants leaders, and he felt the college was missing out on being the best institution in this country by not reaching out and getting leaders from all parts of the society, women, blacks, whites, asians. i know holy cross made great strides in diversity.
8:57am
certainly, there's been a strong generation of of women. i met women who were pioneers there, but when i look at today, i think one thing that's interesting is there's been great success, great faith, and in terms of what's happened with african-americans, ted wells, i know went on to harvard. his classmates there include ken, american express, ken frazier at merck, a lot of highly accomplished men from that generation. i think there's also a lot of disappointment. there's a lot of disappointment what happened to the black middle class in the country, what happened with education, and the erosion of opportunity. frankly, i think what also happened in terms of some of the decisions some of which have been made by justice thomas in terms of, you know, opportunities, affirmative action and such, and in a sense that the next wave for this generation is going to be
8:58am
financial. it's going to be encouraging entrepreneurship. it's going to be basically giving people the tools to start their own businesses, and to inspire the same generation of leaders that came out there, and i think in closing, before i take questions, one thing i want to say is another thanks to the holy cross community because one thing that this reporting process really reenforced to me is the strong fraternity and power this school had at one of the highest levels of giving which is amazing, especially for people who came to your university. we just don't give, like, the government will do it. the holy cross, when i look at the networks that have been formed, the friendships, the power of the cross as they call it, and the way that people support each other and love each other across the generations, i think it's very inspiring, and it's also, to me, a testament of
8:59am
how leadership really happens in this country, and it happens everywhere else, and i think the support and the love that people have shown for father brooks throughout the process, that they have shown for these men and appreciation for how difficult it was to be pioneers on that campus, i hope it is a story we'll continue to come back to again and again. as a reporter, i have to say begin the support i got from holy cross, i want every story i get from now on to be based on the holy cross campus so thank you very much. thank you, again, for supporting the book. i don't think it does justice to the period to the men or to father brooks, but i hope at least that it's a start and that others will come forward, you know, and continue to tells story. watch in and other programs online at booktv.org. >> you don't always find many newspaper editors in any era